A fine way to celebrate art


Courtesy of Gruv Therapy
Courtesy of Gruv Therapy

The jazz and R&B group Gruv Therapy performs Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. as part of the Winter Fine Arts Fair, which opens Friday and runs through Sunday at Tioga Town Center.

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 6:32 p.m.

There’s a new dog in the Town of Tioga, and he’ll greet visitors to the Seventh Annual Winter Fine Arts Fair starting Friday.

Facts

Winter Fine Arts Fair

What: Seventh annual art festival
at Tioga Town Center with 100-plus artists, music, food and more
When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Tioga Town Center,
105 SW 128th St., Newberry
Admission: Free

Monty, the Dog Gone Dragon, is a 10-foot-tall, 4,000-pound sculpture made from recycled metals. He has the head of a dog and the body of a dragon.

Created by local artist John Andrews, Monty, the Dog Gone Dragon, is just one of the new additions to this year’s Winter Fine Arts Fair, which is presented by the Gainesville Fine Arts Association and runs through Sunday at Town of Tioga.

The 2014 event will be the largest one yet, featuring about 120 local and visiting artists, and artwork including paintings, photography, mixed media, sculpture, quilting, ceramics, jewelry, glass and wood.

“This year we have the most artists ever,” says Karen Koegel, the fair’s director. “There’s an amazing group of artists — some of the best artists we’ve had. I’m really excited.”

The fair at Tioga Town Center, located five minutes west of Interstate 75 on Newberry Road, is free and runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“Tioga is really a great venue,” Koegel says, adding that there will be plenty of parking. “We’re the only night-time art show here, and all the booths will be lit up. It’s really beautiful.”

Koegel says she expects record-breaking attendance for this year’s event. “We have so much more to offer this year, and I think it’s going to draw a big crowd,” Koegel said.

Entertainment ranges from the jazz band Gruv Therapy, which performs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, and includes dancers, gymnasts and other musicians taking turns performing in the amphitheater throughout Saturday and Sunday. Performers include Diamond Trio, The Swamp Cats, Sun Country Gymnasts and Vashti, an American tribal-style, belly dance troupe.

The show is not a juried art show, meaning artists can get in without being judged, Koegel says. “Every other show in town is juried, so this is really the only one that a lot of artists can get into.”

Local artist Hugo Cruz has participated in the fair for the last five years and said it has been growing each year.

“I think in time it may grow to be as big as the spring or downtown fair, but I like that it’s smaller,” he says. “I think the fact that it is a small show adds a lot of appeal and charm. It sets it apart from the Spring Arts Festival and the Downtown Art Show.”

Cruz will be displaying his infrared photography at this year’s fair. “It has a surreal effect,” he said. “It gives you a chance to see things you wouldn’t see with the naked eye.”

He also will be showing photography infused on aluminum. “You don’t need a frame. It hangs by itself on a wall,” he says. “The clarity is really apparent. It’s almost like looking through a window.”

Cruz said this fair is special because it is run by an organization of artists. “It has a hometown feel,” he says. “I love it every year.”

Other featured local artists include Steve Howell, Regina Roper, Mike Segal and Natacha Monnalisa.

New to this year’s fair is the “Kids Zone,” where students will experience what it is like to enter an art show, display their work and have it judged by their peers. Artwork from 17 students will be on display today from noon to 5 p.m. Alachua County art teachers picked the students, who range from elementary school to high school.

A train ride will surround the Kids Zone, and Sun Country, a sponsor of the fair, will provide a mobile gym bus and lead a fitness routine to educate children on fitness. A local ceramic artist also will demonstrate the process of making tiles, and children can get hands-on experience painting and glazing them.

Koegel says she also added four association booths to this year’s fair: one by the Gainesville Fine Arts Association, one by the Artisans’ Guild Gallery, and two by ArtLab.

The Gainesville Fine Arts Association information booth, which will be in front of the stage, will distribute commemorative posters by local artist Miriam Novack. The artwork features images of many iconic elements of Gainesville.

“When people see it they’re not going to believe it,” Koegel says. “It’s got Century Tower, it’s got an alligator, and it’s all interwoven. It’s unbelievable.”

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